Central Valley leaders pledge to stop human trafficking, ask for community support

Jessica Harrington Image
Wednesday, January 18, 2023
Central Valley leaders pledge to stop human trafficking, ask for community support
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Combatting a crime that's happening around us, but many people don't talk about.

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Combatting a crime that's happening around us, but many people don't talk about.

Tuesday, community leaders and local organizations came together pledging to stop human trafficking.

Organizers are asking the community to get involved too.

With signs and donation buckets in hand, volunteers stood on street corners Tuesday.

The group raising awareness and money for 6th annual Pledge to Stop Trafficking event.

"Here today, standing with us shoulder to shoulder are the faces and the people who go in, who do the work day and night," said Breaking the Chain CEO Debra Rush.

More than a dozen local leaders, including representatives from state lawmakers and local agencies gathered together to pledge their support to continue the fight.

"Human trafficking is a crime -- and those who traffic not only steal the dreams of their victims. their families, but also their community," said Centro La Familia victim advocate Kendy Villa.

Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama says human trafficking continues to be a serious issue here in the Central Valley.

"There are hundreds of girls being trafficked and a lot of times right under our noses," Balderrama said.

He says law enforcement helps capture the criminals, but working collaboratively with local agencies like Breaking the Chains helps support the victims.

"We work directly with law enforcement to provide the rescue and restoration services," Rush said.

Rush says they provide short and long-term housing, emergency shelter and more.

By pledging to stop trafficking, you're joining in the fight.

You're committing to learn more about what's happening locally while supporting the agencies that are battling it everyday.

Human trafficking is the exploration of one person by another person for some sort of monetary gain, and that's what these agencies are trying to stop.

"If we stop the money, we stop the crime," Rush said.

You can pledge your support any time of the year by visiting P2ST.org.